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  • Cholesterol and sunshine

    I'm really revelling being in the sun this spring. Now I have read about it how natural it is to be in the sun for a human, and how beneficial it is and how the skin cancer craze is more linked to sunscreen than sunlight, I've dived in. But today I thought it might be something more than that.

    At the weekend I had some friends round and we were all in the garden. Bright sunny day, lovely temperature. All of this group follow a conventional diet, except one who is vegetarian.

    I really wanted to sit in the sun, and actually moved twice to stay in the sun. The rest didn't make any special effort to be in or avoid the sun but were mostly in the sun, and the vegetarian made a special effort to sit in the shade and was visible uncomfortable in direct sunlight. And I found the same today on my lunch break - I had to get some sun on me.

    Now, I have read here that cholesterol and vitamin D are basically the same thing, and the sunlight is a catalyst for a very small chemical change that the skin uses to convert cholesterol into vitamin D. So, might that be the reason?

    Of this group of friends, by far I eat the most animal fat. I eat by far the highest amount of dietary cholesterol of all of them. I fry everything in lard and tallow, I eat red meat all the time, and I think nothing of eating four eggs for breakfast. So out of all of them, I have the most dietary raw ingredients to make vitamin D using sunlight. Maybe I needed to be in the sun, and the others not so much?

    The rest ate normally, so they had a normal attraction to sunlight, not minding being in it but not specifically craving it. The vegetarian with very little dietary cholesterol would be much more likely to be short of the raw ingredient to make vitamin D, so had to stay out of the sun. Like he did.

    So maybe, who trend since the 1980s for people to stay out of the sun and to want to wear sunscreen is for good reason - being habitually short of animal fats and dietary cholesterol they need to stay out of the sun, and it is dangerous for them? And maybe someone who was habitual short of dietary animal fat would also be at higher risk of skin cancer with or without sunscreen, because their skin lacks the raw materials it needs to tan and use the sunlight as a catalyst?

    It would explain why people are so sure they need to cover up - because eating what they eat they really do. It would also explain why for years I wore hats and stayed in the shade, and now I don't want to. I think this is more likely than I just happened to read something on the Internet about sunlight being good for you and just happened to change my tastes as a result. Maybe it also explains why looking bronzed is associated in people's minds with strength and good health - because it is true?

  • #2
    I think that being in the sun is good for you. However, you're making some leaps in your thoughts here.

    Looking bronzed is associated with wealth and leisure which is also associated with strength and good health. In the past, a tan was associated with working outside, being a peasant or a "red neck", and thus not associated with good health, at least not in a positive association.

    And people stay out of the sun for many reasons besides skin cancer. The sun may feel hot and uncomfortable. Some people can take the heat and others can't. Some people burn quickly and others don't. Some are bothered by glare and others not. When I plan to spend a whole day out in the hot sun, I cover my arms and wear a broad hat. It's more comfortable.

    But you may be on to something that you have more raw ingredients in your diet to convert nutrition to Vitamin D. Vitamin D makes you feel good and when something feels good you are drawn to do more of it.
    Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by sbhikes View Post
      Looking bronzed is associated with wealth and leisure which is also associated with strength and good health. In the past, a tan was associated with working outside, being a peasant or a "red neck", and thus not associated with good health, at least not in a positive association.
      Yeah, it is funny how "red neck" is considered an acceptable term even though really it is a racially loaded insult. However, when I lived in Australia and was working outside all day I made sure to grow my hair long at the back though, and the back of my neck still got burned...
      But you may be on to something that you have more raw ingredients in your diet to convert nutrition to Vitamin D. Vitamin D makes you feel good and when something feels good you are drawn to do more of it.
      I tell you, I feel positively drawn to be in the sun. I find myself thinking about at my desk and when I am outside I just want to absorb it. I don't remember feeling like that about it before.

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      • #4
        Vitamin D is fat soluble so...there may be something to that, I just don't really understand cholesterol or any of the science behind the way we eat. I find the sun much more comfortable the higher my Vitamin D levels are, but I still burn easily.
        Depression Lies

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        • #5
          Stephanie Seneff has some good stuff on cholesterol and vitamin D.

          Stephanie's Page: Search results for vitamin d
          85: Stephanie Seneff, PhD on Alzheimer

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          • #6
            Originally posted by namelesswonder View Post
            Vitamin D is fat soluble so...there may be something to that, I just don't really understand cholesterol or any of the science behind the way we eat. I find the sun much more comfortable the higher my Vitamin D levels are, but I still burn easily.
            As far as I know, Vitamin D is actually made out of cholesterol. I think I read that in that Stephanie Seneff article js290 mentions.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by billp View Post
              Yeah, it is funny how "red neck" is considered an acceptable term even though really it is a racially loaded insult. However, when I lived in Australia and was working outside all day I made sure to grow my hair long at the back though, and the back of my neck still got burned...
              I tell you, I feel positively drawn to be in the sun. I find myself thinking about at my desk and when I am outside I just want to absorb it. I don't remember feeling like that about it before.
              Ha ha, so you were a redneck with a mullet. Perfect!

              I've been rather depressed lately. The sun finally got warm and strong so I stopped taking Vitamin D. Then the incessant seasonal fog rolled in and I've been so depressed. No sun, no Vitamin D. I'm going to have to go back to taking my Vitamin D.
              Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by sbhikes View Post
                Ha ha, so you were a redneck with a mullet. Perfect!
                You need it! Wearing a hat and long sleeved shirt is all right most of the day, but the hot afternoon sun would burn the skin off your neck without a mullet. And people make fun of them!
                I've been rather depressed lately. The sun finally got warm and strong so I stopped taking Vitamin D. Then the incessant seasonal fog rolled in and I've been so depressed. No sun, no Vitamin D. I'm going to have to go back to taking my Vitamin D.
                I've never taken any dietary supplements. I am a bit suspicious of them. This is partly because I suspect we don't understand nearly as much about the different bodily chemicals as we purport to. People see "vitamins" and "hormones" as the quintessence of humanity - "that really got my adrenalin racing" - "the atmosphere was testosterone charged" - like somehow the hormone is more real that the person and the interaction of circumstance. So I probably wouldn't take them because I would be worried about interrupting a natural rhythm. As a child and teenager school would finish at 3.30 and I would walk back from school at dusk. And in winter I wouldn't see sunlight for weeks on end, and people would drive their cars with the headlights on at noon on overcast days. People seemed to survive. I survived. I think it might be natural to have a long sunlight-drought over winter and catch up again in spring. I wasn't very prone to depression anyway, but I feel much happier now eating as I do than before. I tend to attribute non-dietary depression (where someone is already getting enough mean, animal fat and varied veg) to plain lack of variety in life and not having enough change, with the solution being usually to be more carefree and to go and do something new and exciting.

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                • #9
                  Billp, it's very hard to know if
                  - you were attracted to the sun because of your cholesterol, or because you've been reading and thinking about the sun and enjoying it
                  - your dietary cholesterol has even increased your circulating cholesterol
                  - the vegetarian had low cholesterol
                  - the vegetarian avoided sun because of that, or because he thought it was bad for him, or he's less accustomed to sun exposure.

                  Not to mention antioxidants. It's my understanding that antioxidants in the skin act as a defense against burning. There's more room for speculation about people's relative levels of that too.

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                  • #10
                    I have been out more so far this year than the last couple of years.

                    Without any science behind it, here is why for me.

                    I feel better and want to get out and do things outside.
                    I want to plant/tend a garden whereas in years past, I didnt have the desire.
                    I dont mind sweating now, whereas I use to absolutely hate it.
                    I just care about things more now, like wanting things to look nice - like lawn mowed consistently, flowers planted, things decluttered, front porch kept clean, etc. so that makes me want to get out there & stay on top of things.

                    Before, I didnt care to go out except to mow the yard, when I reached my heaviest I quit riding my horse, had no energy, no desires, didnt really want to wear shorts, I didn't want to get hot, just didnt enjoy that feeling, and above all, I really did not want to sweat. Now I love working up a good sweat. I view chores differently now. It is multi-tasking now. I can get things done & exercise all at the same time, while saving money because before I would just hire someone to do the things I didnt' want to.

                    I always forget sunscreen because I grew up in an era where we were outside all day long during the summer and we didnt wear it, but I try to make myself remember to wear a hat to try to help prevent wrinkles on my face. I usually forget that also. I do worry about the sun on my face though. I have an aunt that golfs alot, and I think of her when I think of too much sun on my face. She is a shriveled up little prune.

                    A week or so ago, I did something that I would have never done before. I took a book down to our "beach" area at the pond and sat in one of the Adirondack chairs and read one of Mark's books. One, I dont read books, two - to just go sit in the sun? I never would have done that before.
                    65lbs gone and counting!!

                    Fat 2 Fit - One Woman's Journey

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mike_h View Post
                      Billp, it's very hard to know if
                      - you were attracted to the sun because of your cholesterol, or because you've been reading and thinking about the sun and enjoying it
                      - your dietary cholesterol has even increased your circulating cholesterol
                      - the vegetarian had low cholesterol
                      - the vegetarian avoided sun because of that, or because he thought it was bad for him, or he's less accustomed to sun exposure.

                      Not to mention antioxidants. It's my understanding that antioxidants in the skin act as a defense against burning. There's more room for speculation about people's relative levels of that too.
                      Also, the vegetarian has red hair. I think red headed people do burn more easily / tan harder.

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                      • #12
                        I spent the last four days in Antwerp. One long cheat. Hotel breakfast of reconstituted sandwich "meat" and bread, latter waffles with fake cream and HFCS, sugary sweets, lots of beer every evening. I started off resolute, but after a day I started to get hungry, and being resolute is not easy with a hangover. I did mostly avoid things I knew to be made of veg oil, but I definitely had some. Low meat, because it is insanely expensive when you are eating out there, and even the most expensive steak is only 1lb (I normally manage double that) and low fat. So I went with it. Fun is more important.

                        Had my first real food again yesterday evening. Today I do not enjoy being in the sun at all. I ended up sitting under a tree. I think it was after two days of touristy eating than I lost my taste for sunlight and started crossing to the shady side of the street. Now I am eating meat and animal fat again I expect the taste will come back in a few days.

                        Did manage to walk and run barefoot all over Antwerp, which earned my some off looks but no actual comments. I can now walk bare foot slowly on gravelly park paths, and walk normally and run on any kind of paved surface. Feels great! No glass cuts but did step on the odd bit and scratch my foot slightly on a rusty nail. No harm done.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mike_h View Post
                          Billp, it's very hard to know if
                          - you were attracted to the sun ... because you've been reading and thinking about the sun and enjoying it
                          This - for everyone - including me.
                          Female, age 51, 5' 9"
                          SW - 183 (Jan 22, 2012), CW - 159, GW - healthy.

                          Met my 2012 goals by losing 24 pounds.
                          2013 goals are to get fit and strong!

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                          • #14
                            Wow great post, I have been wondering the same thing. I was a sun worshipper as a kid when I still ate meat then later as a teen was more vegetarian and developed kind of an aversion. In recent years since I added meat back I've wanted to be outside more but I worry about wrinkles etc.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by jojohaligo View Post
                              This - for everyone - including me.
                              I have to say that for me it seems directly related to diet. Full stop.
                              Originally posted by fiercehunter View Post
                              Wow great post, I have been wondering the same thing. I was a sun worshipper as a kid when I still ate meat then later as a teen was more vegetarian and developed kind of an aversion. In recent years since I added meat back I've wanted to be outside more but I worry about wrinkles etc.
                              I wonder if you would get the wrinkles or the leathery look if you have enough dietary cholesterol. Could it be only when combined with too little? Either way I think it is better to be wrinkled and healthy, but guys are able to get away with the grizzled look better so I have less to lose.

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